The basic idea behind OpenPatents.org is to change the rules of the patent game such that it is to the advantage of participants to help solve the problems of software patents.
This is done with two tools: A certification mark and a patent license.The Certification Mark:
The Patent License:
The Open Patent Certification Mark license can be applied to goods and services that are "playing fair" with respect to patents, (according to standards that will be published on this site today.)
The Open Patent License (still under development) is in effect a mutual nonagression pact, with a number of additions that:
- Allow companies to be mutually nonagressive with respect to:
- only a specific set of patents,
- all their software patents, or
- all their patents;
- contain language such that submitted patents are available for Open Source/Free Software use; and
- require that companies wishing to obtain the full advantages of the license with respect to software patents and more, not attempt to make an end-run around the license by using forms of IP other than patents that restrict the reimplementations of works. This would include things such as look and feel copyrights, and restrictions on reverse engineering. (The license would be useless if participants could still restrict each other from whole areas of the market using dubious non-patent forms of IP.)
The draft versions of the license currently published are practically unreadable. An updated and vastly simplified draft will be published within the next couple weeks.